Forgetting What You Studied?

Sumitra Bhat
Edited by Angela Lapuz
Published on
September 25, 2023

Memory power made easy!

In the pursuit of knowledge and personal growth, individuals often devote a lot of their time and effort into their studies only to find themselves stumbling when confronted with a single, key question. This disheartening experience is a manifestation of what is commonly referred to as "superficial learning," a phenomenon that, strangely, involves no actual learning at all. Another situation is when you understand the concept but struggle to put it into words in a cohesive way. These scenarios tend to be traced back to poor memorization techniques. However, practical steps can be taken to address these challenges, significantly improving our learning outcomes. By incorporating these strategies into our daily lives, we can see major changes in how well we are able to absorb, retain, and effectively convey knowledge.

  1. Feynman technique. This technique is named after Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist known for his ability to simplify and explain complex topics. This method involves breaking down a subject into smaller, more digestible parts and teaching it as if you were explaining it to someone else.

Learning is always effective when you have all of your senses engaged. Many people benefit from reading a book aloud, but this is actually a passive approach to learning. Instead, study a small part of the text and then try teaching it orally to a sibling, parent, pet, or even an invisible audience, which is my personal favorite. You’ll notice that during the process it highlights your strong and weak areas. Just work on those concepts that you are not able to teach well because that means you yourself had some information gap. 

  1. Framing your own questions. Don't get scared by that long paragraph. Pretend it's like someone's name, age, or hair color. People ask questions about those things, right? So, do the same with the text. Put answers in brackets and write questions elsewhere. This will help you remember the basic stuff, and before you know it, you'll understand the whole thing which is similar to how you know a person by their details.

  1. Blurting/scribbling. This method is perfect for making last-minute changes. Repeat what you studied and say them out loud as you record it, either just voice or video, whichever is preferable. When you see yourself stuttering, there it is! The problem. If you are not comfortable or can’t speak out loud due to personal circumstances, write everything you know and learned in bullet points.

Certain studies state that scribbling on a sheet of paper when memorizing information helps you retain it for longer. Here’s a fun activity you can try with history or literature: if you are learning a character sketch of a character, film yourself as a journalist asking questions about the character and then answering them yourselves. 

  1. Mind Maps. This is a simple one, but mind maps are visual representations of information that can help you organize and connect ideas in a more engaging way. When it's time for chapter revision, instead of sifting through the entire chapter, just do a  mind map. Furthermore, if you keep this mind map where you can see it on a daily basis, your brain will naturally absorb the information as it becomes familiar with the terms each day.

  1. Method of Loci. In this case, we use visual cues and associations to improve memory retention. This technique, also known as the "Method of Loci" or the "Memory Palace," has been used to remember complex information for centuries. I personally find this very helpful when I have a long answer to memorize that has subsections to it. Imagine you have a picture in front of you that features five distinct entities, such as the one we have here.


My question is about the “Merits of Equity Shares”. So now, I assign each of my major points to each of the girls in this picture. When I’m having trouble recalling my points, I just think about this image and consider which girl's points I might be missing. This technique has been proven to be effective, so I encourage you to give it a try.

BONUS: Certain foods have been linked to potential memory-enhancing abilities due to their nutritional components. During your study session, try eating little bites of nuts, seeds, berries, and chocolate.

There are numerous options available to us: creating structured study aids like mind maps, eating foods that may enhance our memory, and even using visual cues. Make the most of them! Happy learning!

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